In the Afterglow of Christmas, as we enjoy the gifts we have received, it is the time to nurture a thankful heart, both in our own hearts, as well as teaching it to our children.
As a child after a birthday or Christmas, Mum made sure we sat down with writing paper and wrote a thank you. And she led by example. She would be writing her thank you notes too.
If we were going to be away with family soon after Christmas, then when we were packing, she would check that we had packed writing paper.
She didn’t always require us to write a “Thank You.”
If we were going to see the relative who had given the gift, then we could go up to them and say “thank you” but we had to say what the gift actually was, not just a “Thank you for my present,” but a “Thank you for the (books) you gave me for Christmas.”
So as soon as we were old enough to write our own lists, on Christmas Day, as we opened a gift, we then wrote down what it was we had been given and by whom. Then later when we were writing a letter or just saying “Thank You” we could check the list to see what we had been given. All 4 of us still do that even today.
When we were writing a “Thank You” letter to relatives as we reached preteens, Mum insisted we needed to write something more than just “Thank you for the present” and to say something a bit more like how we were enjoying the present/going to spend the gift, and to add something that we had done over Christmas.
I remember one year receiving something that was not quite suitable for me. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I think I was a bit old for it. I do remember going to Mum and asking what I wrote in the letter, because I couldn’t honestly say I liked it/was going to use it. Mum replied with “Just say ‘thank you for the (gift name)’ because you can be thankful that they were thoughtful enough to remember you at Christmas and buy you a gift. Then just write about the things you have done over Christmas.”
Her words of wisdom have always stayed with me.
I personally don’t mind if I receive a written note (I love the ones I get from my nephews and have kept all of them) a verbal thank you or a text/email/FB message.
With the graphics available today, a simple online message can be prettied up to make it look special, and would possibly enthuse the teens in your family to get down to sending a “Thank You.” Because, let’s face it, having to take time out to say “Thank You” when you would rather be enjoying the gift of spending holiday time with the family can be a chore. But in saying “Thank You” we are taking the time to be grateful for the gift as well as for the person who gave the gift.
My sister, with her boys started off writing their “Thank You” notes herself. When they were able they then signed their name at the end. Now they are able to write independently so at 6 and 7 they are now writing “Dear Auntie Wendy, Thank you for my (gift name) love from (nephew’s name).” It means a lot of work for my sister, firstly writing the notes, and now sitting with them as they write their own, but she firmly believes now is the time to be teaching them the gift of thankfulness. (I agree with her!)
Did you write “Thank You” notes as a child? Do you still do it now? Do you encourage your children to do it?
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
~ Wendy Sparkes ~